Review by BolognaSammich
"Pokemon takes a giant step forward with Pokemon X"
New pokemon, new region, new professor, it can only be that time again - it's time for the next generation of Pokemon to begin, and the future looks bright. For the first time, Pokemon makes the switch from 2D grid-based RPGs to a full on, brightly colored 3D experience and it's a transition done extremely well.
The story, as with every other game in the series is nothing to turn into a movie. Taking place in the Kalos region, heavily inspired from France, you're a young boy or girl who is given a pokemon by the regional professor named after a tree (this time Professor Sycamore), you set out to collect all 8 Gym Badges by defeating powerful trainers, filling your pokemon encyclopedia called a Pokedex along the way, meanwhile encountering and promptly stopping the plans of a team that has nefarious purposes.
It's the visuals of the game that are so charming. Every single one of the 700+ pokemon in existence has been rendered in a full colored 3D model which is unprecedented and they all look beautiful. For the first time on a handheld system you can see your actual pokemon instead of just a sprite of your pokemon. You can watch them battle by shooting fire at opposing pokemon, creating earthquakes or crashing tidal waves towards opponents. You can go through caves, ride your pokemon through the ocean or walk through dark forests all in 3D. For the first time you can customize your character model, which is somewhat limited I have to add. For starters, you can't get rid of a hat, you can only change the one you want to wear. Clothing is spread apart in various stores across the region, which can be annoying when you want to switch to a certain outfit.
For the first time ever on handheld, the pokemon universe is in 3D and it's yours to explore at your own pace. Challenge gyms, collect pokemon, play with the ones you already have or just explore, it's up to you in Pokemon X.
The gameplay I find is pretty hit and miss. The AI is still really lacking, and anyone who's played any pokemon game before whether it be Red/Blue or Gold/Silver will tell you that it's almost the exact same. I understand that Pokemon is marketed towards kids, but I don't think that should be a reason to not give the AI any sentiment level of intelligence, even children need to be challenged. They gave an optional item that will train all of your pokemon at an equal rate even if you're not using them, I find it just overkill to simiplify one of the only moderately challenging things in an already easy game. One challenging part they did add was Horde battles, which are finding groups of pokemon in the wild at once, and promptly getting destroyed if you aren't way stronger than the wild pokemon. I find this more annoying than challenging, it's something they could've gone without adding. As for controls, the Analog stick is reserved for Roller Skating and if you like walking you're forced over to the D-Pad. Personally, I prefer to walk yet use the Analog stick so I wish they could've made Roller Skates a separate item but that's more of a nitpick than anything, and you get used to it after a while.
Otherwise the gameplay is pretty solid, there's a couple new things to do like Pokemon-Amie, where you can interact with your pokemon for the first time by feeding them treats, petting them or playing games with them. I like Pokemon-Amie a lot, and it's fun to play with your different pokemon to see the different quirks they have like getting shocked by touching Pikachu's cheeks. Super Training allows more technical players to train pokemon in certain areas such as Speed or Defense by playing minigames, I tried a few just for fun but couldn't get into any. One of my personal favorite new features is the Wonder Trade, which is a lot like Pokemon Lottery. You put one of your pokemon in and you get a random trade online that could be anything from a weak Caterpie to a powerful Mewtwo (Probably not Mewtwo, usually 9/10 times you'll just get something bad) but it feels so good when you do get something worth keeping.
So for the most part, Pokemon X is a beautifully done game that allows you to overlook the few flaws that it does have. There's a lot to do, it's a beautiful world with great design and good music. The story and AI are still not very good, but everything else about the game is so well done that it's easy to overlook for any pokemon fan past or present, and have fun just enjoying the 3D pokemon universe.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/14/13, Updated 10/15/13
Game Release: Pokemon X (US, 10/12/13)
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